The Celtics have started extension talks with Payton Pritchard, sources tell Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Although Pritchard’s representatives are talking to the front office about a long-term deal, there’s still “a gap to close” before an agreement can be finalized, Weiss adds.
The 25-year-old guard figures to have a much larger role in a revamped Boston backcourt after offseason trades that sent out Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon and brought in Jrue Holiday. Playing time has been an issue for Pritchard, who expressed a desire to be traded in February because he wasn’t seeing consistent minutes.
That shouldn’t be a problem anymore, as Pritchard’s smooth shooting stroke makes him a welcome backcourt partner for Holiday or Derrick White. Pritchard has connected at 40% from three-point range during his three seasons in Boston.
There’s more on the Celtics:
- Coach Joe Mazzulla was preparing to utilize more double-big lineups after Boston traded for Kristaps Porzingis, but those plans have changed with Robert Williams being sent to Portland in the Holiday deal, notes Jay King of The Athletic. Luke Kornet should have a larger role with Williams gone and may see time next to Porzingis, but Mazzulla will likely rely on smaller lineups with the current roster. The Celtics are bringing in Wenyen Gabriel and could look to add more frontcourt help, with King noting that Bismack Biyombo, Dewayne Dedmon and Gorgui Dieng are all free agents, along with Blake Griffin, whom president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said the team would like to bring back if he doesn’t retire.
- The Celtics had to consider Holiday’s next contract when deciding to acquire him, per Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. The 33-year-old guard will become eligible for an extension on February 22, but he’ll only be able to add two more years to his current deal, if he declines his $39.4MM option for 2024/25. If he waits until six months after the trade date, he can add four years and will have the choice of extending at a lower starting salary than his player option under changes made in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Gozlan points out that Holiday can also pick up the option and extend on a “team-friendly” deal similar to what Porzingis did.
- Boston’s team salary will reach $222.6MM once the team signs a 14th player, increasing its tax penalty by $14.4MM for this season, Gozlan adds. With Jaylen Brown‘s super-max deal taking effect next year, team payroll is set to rise into the $260MM range. That figure could increase to $350MM to $400MM in 2025/26, Gozlan notes, when Jayson Tatum‘s expected super-max takes effect, if the club extends Holiday and White.
- The Celtics have options to improve their roster even after sending two first-round picks to Portland to acquire Holiday, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Boston still has first-rounders to trade in 2024, 2026 and 2031, along with eight second-round picks through 2030. The team also has a $6.2MM TPE from the Grant Williams trade.